In 1966, he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Stuttgart in Germany. He received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 1988 for contributions to the field of nanotechnology. He became the Chair Professor of the Institute of Material Science at Saarland University, Germany in 1979. He has also held positions at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Bochum.
Since 2012, he is Director and Chair Professor of the 'Herbert Gleiter Institute of Nanoscience' of 'Nanjing University of Science and Technology' of Nanjing in China.In 2019, he received the Advanced Materials Laureate during the 30th IAAM Award Assembly. 
- "Recipient: 2009 Institute of Metals Lecturer & Robert Franklin Mehl Award". The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Speaker Biography... Herbert Gleiter". 2nd Nanotoday Conference. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "3rd Nano Today Conference". 2013-12-08.
- "institute on Gleiter's name". 2017-05-19.
- Report of the Asian Advanced Materials Congress – 2019, Singapore 
- Invisible Origins of Nanotechnology: Herbert Gleiter, Materials Science, and Questions of Prestige
- prof. H. Gleiter's page at KIT,Germany:https://www.int.kit.edu/1801_herbert.gleiter.php
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